Republican House Speaker John Boehner didn't seem to care for President Obama's State of the Union address tonight...
The Speaker "managed not to rise even for a shout-out to 'wounded warriors,' or 102-year-old Desiline Victor, who waited seven hours to vote in Miami on Election Day," notes Joan Walsh in "The night John Boehner just sat there".
But the biggest boner of the night came during Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) official Republican Response. The junior Senator and 2016 hopeful was apparently demonstrating the need for action on climate change, by personally re-enacting the nation's worst drought in fifty years. It all eventually led to what has now become known as the "gulp heard round the world"...
President Barack Obama will announce a bipartisan presidential voting commission to focus on improving the Election Day experience, The Huffington Post has learned from two sources outside the White House with knowledge of the plans.
The commission is one of a number of efforts the Obama administration is making to address the problems that plagued voting on Election Day 2012. The commission, which will focus specifically on Election Day issues and not broader voting reform, will likely be co-chaired by one Republican and one Democratic lawyer, according to one of the sources.
After the 2000 Presidential election fiasco, a bipartisan blue-ribbon commission headed by former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford was created by Congress. The commission offered reforms that ultimately helped lead to the disastrous Help America Vote Act of 2002. That bill, among other things, offered some $4 billion in federal money to states in order to "upgrade" to computerized voting systems. Those same systems, using proprietary hardware and software from private vendors, tally votes in secret and continue to fail in election after election even today.
As Conyers noted at the time, and as the sham Baker/Carter commission's report ultimately showed, the private commission was created in order to lay the groundwork for polling place Photo ID restrictions down the road. "Make no mistake about it," Conyers wrote here at the time, detailing his belief that the commission's push for Photo ID restrictions was "more of the same old Ken Blackwell-style Republican electoral dirty tricks, where Democratic voters are deliberately disenfranchised so that Republicans can win elections."
While the privately created Baker/Carter commission was meant to appear similar to the official Ford/Carter blue-ribbon commission (Ford was ailing at the time of the second commission, so was replaced with Baker), we can only hope that whatever new commission President Obama has in mind won't end up with the same "dead-on-arrival" recommendations as the ones from Baker and Carter. Though those recommendations were roundly criticized at the time, they are still cited today --- as if they were official recommendations --- by Republicans hoping to disenfranchise legal American voters through new restrictions on voting.
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: 'Too pooped to pope': Pope Benedict's green legacy; Did global warming find Nemo?; State of the Union - Obama's next act on climate change; Wind power now cheaper than coal in some countries; PLUS: Fox 'News' surrenders to Germany (in the clean energy race) ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Koch-backed 'Tea Party' started in 2002 with Big Tobacco; Meet your newest national park; Shell's damaged Arctic drilling rigs go to Asia; Map of cities to avoid as sea levels rise; Keystone XL pipeline: Just Say No; National Journal covers rising costs of inaction on climate change; Bloomberg's clean energy investor factbook; Flame retardants linked to ADHD; Why the US drilling boom lowered gas prices ... PLUS: Energy Subsidies and the 'Free Market' Lie ... and much, MUCH more! ...
The massive operating deficits that have driven the U.S. Post Office to announce an end to delivery of First Class mail on Saturdays, beginning in August, are not the product of postal service ineptitude. Those deficits are not the product of increased public access to emails or from competition by private delivery services like UPS or FedEx.
The U.S. Postal Service has been victimized by the Orwellian-labeled Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006 (PAEA), which embodies a scheme designed to destroy the constitutionally established U.S. Postal Service in order to privatize mail and parcel delivery. In a lame duck session, at the peak of the USPS' profitability and productivity, a then Republican-controlled Congress forced the U.S. Postal Service "to pre-fund 75 years worth of pensions" in the span of ten years, "a requirement not made of any other public or private institution." If not for the onerous and unprecedented requirements of the PAEA, the U.S. Postal Service, which is not funded by any taxes, would now be experiencing a $1.5 billion surplus.
The contrived demise of the postal service must be understood within the broader subversive goals of libertarian and right wing philosophy --- a philosophy which, despite the express provisions of both the Preamble and Article I of the U.S. Constitution, rejects the right of government to "promote the general welfare"...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Obama nominates REI CEO for DOI; Historic Nor'easter to hit Nor'east, historic low water levels in Great Lakes; Ben & Jerry's junks GMOs; Saving Indonesia's rainforest; PLUS: Find the nation's biggest polluters - in your backyard... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): "These big pools of oil will be burned if we choose to cook ourselves"; Air pollution linked to higher infant mortality; Flame retardants linked to ADHD: study; OH: Frackers illegally dump toxic fracking fluid into storm drain; Big Oil profiting from record high gas prices; BP objects to $34b spill bill from states; Faulty bolts halt offshore drilling; USDA reports climate change to slam farms, forests ... PLUS: AZ's anti-Agenda 21 bill wants to eat your brains ... and much, MUCH more! ...
Here is the 'white paper'. With a few tweaks and a more creative title --- like "Murder With Your Hands Clean" --- this memo could sell a lot of copies.
And why not? Either there's a whistleblower in the Department of So-Called Justice about to be charged with espionage, and NBC is about to face the same persecution as WikiLeaks, or this is one of those "good" leaks that the White House wanted made public in an underhanded manner --- perhaps as an imagined boost to morality-challenged CIA director nominee John Brennan who faces his Senate Rejection Hearing on Thursday.
The white paper, which is thought to be a summary of a longer memo, says the United States can murder a U.S. citizen abroad (abroad but somehow "outside the area of active hostilities" even though killing him or her seems rather active and hostile) if three conditions are met:
1. an informed, high-level official of the U.S. government has determined that the targeted individual poses an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States;
The memo goes on to base its claims on the supposed powers of the President, not of some random official. Who is such an official? Who decides whether he or she is informed? What if two of them disagree? What if he or she disagrees with the President? or the Congress? or the Supreme Court? or the U.S. public? or the United Nations? or the International Criminal Court? What then? One solution is to redefine the terms so that everyone has to agree. "Imminent" is defined in this memo to mean nothing at all. "The United States" clearly means anywhere U.S. troops may be.
2. capture is infeasible, and the United States continues to monitor whether capture becomes feasible;
And if a high-level official claims it's infeasible, who can challenge that?
3. the operation would be conducted in a manner consistent with applicable law of war principles.
When a U.S. drone strike killed Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, no one had shown either of them to meet the above qualifications.
When a U.S. drone strike targeted and killed 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, no one had shown him to meet the above qualifications; I don't think anyone has made such a claim to this day. And what about his cousin who died for the crime of being with him at the wrong time?
The sociopaths who wrote this memo have "legalized" the drone-killing of Americans with the exception of all the Americans known thus far to have been murdered by our government with the use of drones.
From Bill Maher's "New Rules" on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher last Friday...
And finally, new rule, America needs to show it's the home of the brave...by acting like it.
Did you know that the defense budget of the United States is bigger than the defense budgets of the next thirteen countries combined, most of whom are allies and none of whom are enemies?
So, lemme ask you: If a guy on your block was so frightened of mostly non-existent prowlers that he spent all of his resources on alarm systems and guns and cameras --- so much so that he didn't even have enough money left to maintain his home or send his kids to college --- would you call him "brave"?
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By the way, here's what those courageous numbers look like...
And, for those who've heard about the "devastating" $500 billion in spending cuts to our military budget that will soon come as a result of the 2011 "sequestration" deal if a new accommodation isn't worked out, here's what those numbers will look like...
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Will John Kerry, or won't John Kerry?; Sierra Club vows to break the law for climate change and to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline; Dangerous air pollution in Salt Lake City; PLUS: The Mafia wants a piece of the clean energy action ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Somebody is paying cash to anti-wind protesters (Trump?); World's biggest renewable energy storage farm opens in TX; Charting a New Course for the U.S. and the Environment; Google's Driverless Car Is Worth Trillions; Airlines 'made billions in windfall profits' from EU carbon tax; Colorado: January red flag fire warning; Rising Sea Level: How High Could the Tide Go?; Medical Experts Warn The Rise Of Resistant Bacteria Will Cause ‘Antibiotic Apocalypse’; CNN's Brain Freeze On Climate Change --- again... PLUS: What holds energy tech back? The infernal battery ... and much, MUCH more! ...
On today's BradCast on Pacifica Radio's KPFK here in Los Angeles, we focused on the climate remarks in President Obama's Second Inaugural address which, frankly, seem to have stunned even the most seasoned environmental reporters.
We discussed, among other issues, Romm's encouraging speculation on whether or not Obama and the State Dept. (with John Kerry as its likely new head) will approve the Keystone XL pipeline or not, and what the horrifying consequences are likely to be if they do.
That, and much more (including a bit of other news, some great listener phone calls and the Green News Report's Desi Doyen), all follow.
P.S. Remember, I don't post all of the BradCasts here. But you can subscribe to the RSS feed here, or listen to the archive anytime on your mobile device with either the Stitcher Radio app or the TuneIn app, both of which carry the show.
P.S.S. Also still interested in creating a logo for The BradCast. So if you got logo-makin' chops and wanna give it a crack, drop me a line!
IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Obama talks big on climate at his 2nd Inaugural, but will the Administration follow up with action? A final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline and other climate & energy conundrums loom in the 2nd term of President Barack Hussein Obama ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): '2012 Was Once Considered Hottest Year On Record, Man In 2024 Remembers Wistfully'; Supreme Court won’t hear challenge to EPA pollution rule; Crop innovation saves water, boosts yields; Solar panel prices continue to fall; Antibacterial ingredient tainting US lakes; Widespread contaminants in Chesapeake Bay; Study: melamine from containers can leech in food; David Attenborough Calls Humans a "Plague Upon the Earth"... PLUS: Koch-funded study finds global warming is "manmade", "solar forcing does not appear to contribute" ... and much, MUCH more! ...
Everyone will, no doubt, have their favorite and/or least favorite moments from President Barack Obama's second Inaugural address this afternoon. [Full video here, full text transcript here.]
We couldn't help but notice this passage, concerning climate change, which received not only as much or more attention than any other single issue referenced in the entire speech, but as much or more attention than the issue received during the entirety of the seemingly endless 2012 Presidential campaign...
We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God.
Receiving less time during the address today, but also noteworthy for this news site...
Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.
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Finally, for now, one personal moment worth highlighting --- perhaps the most personal of the day --- was this unscripted few seconds, after the President had finished his speech, and just before he disappeared out of view at the exit of his Inaugural podium for the final time. He stopped and turned around to view the enormous crowd on the National Mall.
The audio is difficult to hear, but he appears to say "I want to take one more look. I'm not going to see this again"...
On Sunday mornings, when I was a kid, we'd wake up and have bagels and lox that my grandfather would bring over to our house early in the morning. This family does other stuff on Sunday mornings...
You'll note that Chief Justice Roberts was working from a piece of paper this time, so as to avoid the mistake he made administering the oath incorrectly, from memory, during the official swearing in in 2009. That gaffe led to a "mulligan" swearing in the following day, privately, in the White House.
For the record, today's swearing in is the official start of President Barack Obama's second term under the U.S. Constitution, which specifies, in the 20th Amendment, that "The terms of the President and Vice President shall...then begin" at noon on the 20th day of January. (Prior to the 20th Amendment, Presidents had been sworn in on March 4th.) But, since, this year, January 20th falls on a Sunday, the public swearing in will take place on Monday, January 21st instead, in a massive ceremony outside the U.S. Capitol, as per tradition.
According to an announcement from Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), chair of the 2013 Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, as cited by USA Today "this is the seventh time in U.S. history that the constitutionally mandated inauguration date has fallen on a Sunday."
"The last time was for President Ronald Reagan's second inauguration in 1985," said Schumer's office. "When this occurs, the public ceremonies traditionally are held on Monday."
Past inaugurations to fall on Sundays, with public ceremonies moved to the following Monday, include James Monroe's 2nd (1821), Zachary Tayor's (1849), Rutherford B. Hayes' (1877), Woodrow Wilson's 2nd (1917), Dwight D. Eisenhower's 2nd (1957) and Ronald Reagan's 2nd (1985).
Schumer's office notes that January 21 "is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It will be the second time that this federal holiday has coincided with a presidential inauguration. The first was President Bill Clinton's second inauguration on Monday, Jan. 20, 1997."
The timing of this year's ceremonial swearing in makes makes this Photoshopped graphic, widely circulated during Obama's first inaugural, perhaps even more appropriate, even if somewhat less moving four years later...
USA Today also notes that "The law designating the third Monday in January as a federal holiday honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was signed into law by President Reagan in 1983. President Reagan's 1985 inauguration fell on the third Monday of January, but the new federal holiday did not become official until 1986."
In other words Stewart focused on those who are willing to beclown themselves by insisting that the President's rather tepid --- rather non-controversial if you bother to read them --- 23 executive actions and 9 recommendations to Congress to improve gun safety in this nation were nothing short of TYRANNY!!!!
As Stewart observes in the very funny segment posted below, it seems these folks are "confusing tyranny with the unpleasant burning sensation of losing democratic elections."
He ultimately concludes: "I guess it can be summed up by the old homily: 'First they came for the guns, and I said nothing, because...they really didn't."
The segment is split into two parts, both below, but it's really just one segment...